By: Malibongwe Dayimani
Tsholomnqa villagers had been waiting for a tarred road and decent houses for decades‚ said community leader‚ Wele Ntshongola.
“We shot ourselves in the foot by toppling the apartheid government‚” residents of an Eastern Cape village said on Thursday.
He said the dawn of democracy had marked the beginning of the collapse of quality service delivery for the Eastern Cape rural area which is situated on the R72 outside East London.
“This village was in a good state under the Ciskei homeland led by LL Sebe. We used to have a tarred road… with workers who used to maintain it as well as free seed‚ crops and livestock.” He said they celebrated when democracy dawned. “Little did we know that democracy would bring more oppression.
This democracy is not for everyone and poor rural dwellers are bearing the brunt.” Ntshongola claims the villagers of are mostly ANC supporters and should be prioritised by the government.
“I am not saying that I agree with the policies or laws of apartheid‚ but at least we were getting service delivery back then.”
Tired of their complaints being ignored‚ the residents got together and raised R1 500 for three tractor loads of gravel to fill their badly rutted main road.
“We decided to fix the road ourselves because the Department of Public Works has been ignoring our complaints‚ including a demonstration in front of their offices earlier this year‚” said resident Bonisile Dyani. Noluthando Matuba‚ 65‚ who also got her hands dirty fixing the road said‚ “ambulances and police cars struggle to come to this area because this road is not good enough for cars”.